It’s such a rare occurrence for us to get a film like No Mercy for BMT that I gotta get hyped for writing about it. Whew… here it goes… you ready? IT’S NOT THAT BAD. (“It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad!” the crowd chants as Patrick and I strut eagerly about the arena). That’s right, I actually liked this film. If you are looking for a JCVD-ish type action thriller with better actors and a shockingly gritty and emotional storyline then I RECOMMEND No Mercy. You saw that right. I would recommend this film. Is it a somewhat by-the-numbers thriller? Of course. Is the final fight a bit anticlimactic? Sure. But it also has a number of solid aspects to it: the acting is good (even Basinger puts in a nuanced performance), the setting is good, and the relationship between Basinger and Gere is actually really good. In particular, the level of emotion brought to Basinger’s character and the situation she is in was completely unexpected. She is kept woman by a Cajun gangster in New Orleans. In the beginning of the film you don’t know much about her other than that she was present at the murder of Gere’s partner. You soon come to learn that she was given over to the gangster as a child and has basically known nothing but terror at the hands of this monster for years. It’s pretty raw. The best part of the film is when the gangster finally catches up with them and is getting Basinger out of jail. She is handed a form to sign and he matter-of-factly states “she can’t read or write,” and there is a look of embarrassment on her face as she looks at Gere who stands there shocked. It was kind of beautiful and terrible and done with a single look. In that moment I really felt like not only was the film not bad, but perhaps the best BMT film we’ve watched. Anyway, I’ll let Patrick give a slightly less glowing (and probably more realistic) review of the film. I really liked it though.
No Mercy nails two separate locations for Settings 101. The first is Chicago, where Gere operates as a Chicago PD detective. It’s made pretty clear where we are set, but not so plot defining to be considered in the A range. Pretty solidly in the C range as it could have been NYC or Houston even a place like Memphis. However, when the film transitions to the New Orleans area we go all in. Not only do we start out with an extended Old South plantation scene and Gere walking around Bourbon Street, but then we get some extremely specific scenes located in the 15th ward of New Orleans called Algiers (also where Shaq is from in the film Blue Chips) and Gere and Basinger wading around a bayou bumping up against Cajun people and eating crawfish. Basically it descends into New Orleans: The Movie. It jumps right over the B range and in the A range, where the setting begins to be inseparable from the plot itself. I would even say that it lands right in A, given that so many aspects of the plot could be done in so few other places. Perhaps you could transfer this over to parts of Florida or Alabama, but even that would be hard. I really love settings and I really liked this film. Perfect combo.
‘Ello everyone! No Mercy? More like No, More Please! I guess, let’s quickly get into it.
- The Good – I kind of dug this movie. The first 30 minutes is reminiscent of the hard-boiled detective movies of the 70s, a little tiny bit of a Dirty Harry vibe going on. And while the middle gets a bit slow the Home Alone 3: Lost in New Orleans ending is also rather well done. And Richard Gere is quite quite good. While it feels like a rich man’s Steven Seagal movie, you can’t imagine either him, JCVD or Norris pulling off this movie. But Gere does. I was diiiiigging this soundtrack.
- The Bad – The middle is just blah. And while I can’t tear into Basinger for a ludicrous Cajun accent (she basically didn’t try and do an accent which was … sigh … practical), she wasn’t the best. The bad guys and henchmen feel like they belong in a mediocre Steven Seagal movie as I indicated. But I liked this movie enough that that is it.
- The BMT – Sing it with me now: It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! No BMT film, more like a GMW film (Good Movie Wednesday, no one has time to watch two movies in a night, c’mon, I got work). Maybe a front runner for the Freddie Got Fingered “It’s Not That Bad” Smaddie Baddie this year? We’ll have to see. Likely considering we only have three non-2016 films left on the docket. And I agree with Jamie, going through all of the previous surprisingly good movies we’ve watched this one seemed real and less good-for-what-it-is and something I would just kind of accidentally watch on Netflix and like.
Quick game and then we are done. A Sequel/Prequel/Remake might be nice. Sequel. Set today, Gere and Basinger live in a quiet town in Wisconsin, him having been pushed out of the Chicago PD as part of the cover up of his brutal murders committed in New Orleans. Little does he know a little bit of the past has come back to haunt him. After women in the town start going missing he uncovers that it was all a trap laid out by Losado’s brother, fresh from … uh, the Bayou or wherever he was supposed to be from. Time to go back to Algiers to find the kidnapped ladies, and crush the villains who have secretly run the city for centuries. I’m digging it! Cheerios, and back to you Jamie.